Thursday, June 03, 2010

Where I'm At



It's been a while since I've blogged about baby Lamp.  The truth is, there isn't much to say.  No new information and by the looks of things, she's as happy as a clam {not that I understand why clams are so d*** happy in the first place}.  And truthfully, so are we.  The great thing about being in a situation like this is that I can't tell you how many times people have told us they're praying for us, or they fasted for us, or they put our names on the prayer roll at the temple.  I know we have felt those blessings, because I feel like I should be an emotional wreck...but I'm not.  {But that's not to say we wouldn't still love to have your prayers...we would.  Sooo keep it up.  Thanks.}  

But I do have some more thoughts on our situation I'd like to share--I know many people wonder how we're doing and where I'm at emotionally....so this is where I'm at.

Blessings.  Earlier this year, before finding out about Lamp, I was reading in the Book of Mormon about our old pal Nephi and his dad Lehi.  For those of you who don't know,  Lehi is an ancient prophet who was told in a dream to leave all his possessions behind and take his family into the wilderness to escape the eventual destruction of Jerusalem.  Nephi is one of Lehi's more righteous sons who turns out to be the most cooperative and supportive of his father's decision.  Nephi knows God told his father what do to and that his father was obeying the Lord.  Some of Nephi's brothers however we not so happy with the whole thing--they thought their dad was loony to take them away from all their riches and comforts to go wander in the wilderness.  They even went so far as to try and kill Nephi on a couple of occasions.  As it turns out, this was still a pretty difficult situation for everyone involved.  Regardless of the fact that they were commanded by the Lord and regardless of the fact that they were saved from the destruction of Jerusalem, it just wasn't easy to go and live in the wilderness.  Even for Lehi and Nephi themselves {who were the righteous ones} they had their fair share of trials and frustrations.  At some point Nephi acknowledges the hardships they've been enduring, but then starts listing the great blessings the Lord has given them... So even though their women have had to bear their children in the wilderness, they've been blessed to live off of raw meat and the women have had plenty of milk to feed their children, stuff like that.  Nephi also makes it clear that God expects them to be grateful for these blessings.  Nephi sort of sums this up by saying,  And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness.  So to sum up--they leave their home and all the comforts and riches they had in that home and instead trade it in for 8 years in the wilderness, living off of raw meat and such and meanwhile God has the audacity to let them know, you're being blessed.  

As many times as I've read this story this was the first time I really tried to put myself in their shoes and I thought, would I really recognize this situation as a blessing?  What if Heavenly Father took away my home?  From my perspective that situation didn't actually sound like a blessing.  At least not blessings as I know them.  Most blessings are recognizable by the happiness or contentment we feel in their bestowal.    When I say my prayers at night I often thank Heavenly Father for the comfortable home we live in and the other comforts we enjoy.  Aren't those things blessings?  Yes they are.  But what if God took them away, for whatever reason, would I still feel blessed?  To be honest, I've known for a long time that blessings aren't always coupled with feelings of happiness and joy but something about this situation seemed to hit a little closer to home.  I found myself wondering if I am truly cognizant of what an actual blessing is?  Or at least, do I recognize the hierarchy of my blessings--being happy and comfortable is nice, but would I be willing to sacrifice those things for greater, unseen eternal blessings?  Again, I'm not saying a warm home and comfortable beds aren't blessings, they are.  But if Heavenly Father decided he had other plans for me that didn't include a warm home and bed, would that necessarily mean I was being un-blessed?  

I used to think trials and blessings were on opposite ends of the spectrum.  You either have one or the other.  In reality often a trial turns out to be a blessing.  And even obvious blessing might come with a host of trials as well.  I know this isn't gospel rocket science, but this particular part of Nephi's story was a good lesson for me to ponder and think about.  Once again, this was before we found out about Lamp.  So when we did find out about Lamp, did I suddenly feel prepared to immediately accept this as a blessing?....Uh, no...I didn't feel blessed.  I felt mourning, grief, and fear.  And I'm expecting to go through more of those phases after her arrival.  But there was a moment when I first connected this story of Nephi with our situation and I've thought a lot about this idea of blessings.  

We were getting the follow up ultra sound and for the first time hearing individual details about each of Lamp's limbs.  This information was hard to hear.  I was crying.  Naturally.  I chatted with the ultrasound tech and she revealed that she was never able to have kids.  Before I could say anything she said, Oh don't feel bad for me...I feel much worse for you guys.  I mean, every parent deserves to have a healthy baby.  We just figured our situation was God's will.  I know in some weird way she was trying to be nice and maybe even validate my feelings, but it seemed to me she mistook my tears of grief for tears of remorse.  It seemed like she assumed that if I could take this pregnancy back I would.  My response was, Well, we think this is God's will too.  

That discussion made me think about the times I've shared our story and I know there has been more than one mom who has walked away thinking to herself, wow...we are so blessed that our children are healthy.  And even a couple people who have expressed their fears outloud to me about being scared to get pregnant because you never know what you're going to get.  And I can understand their fears, and I can understand feeling blessed because your kids are healthy....but do I feel un-blessed because my daughter will be born handicapped?  No, I don't.  Would I take this pregnancy back if I could?  No.  Which is what seems weird....even though my situation appears to be the exact opposite--healthy/whole children vs. an unhealthy child--it doesn't translate into an opposite spiritual situation--blessed vs. un-blessed, or even blessing vs. trial.  There is so much more I could say about blessings, but I'll leave it at that.       

I guess the point of all this is to tell you how I'm feeling about our situation and specifically Lamp.  This isn't what we expected, but we still feel blessed.  I don't want people to pity us, or her. Additionally, even more than just a question of blessings, we love her because she's ours.  Some people have made comments along the lines of, aren't you grateful she's coming to your family?  A family that will love her and take care of her?  Yes.  But I'm just as grateful Beanie was sent to our family...not necessarily because of her health or what she brings to the table, but because she's ours.  She was meant for our family...just like Lamp.  Just like you're grateful for your children...because they're yours.  It reminds me of this little adage from a mother who lost her son.   She was addressing the children in the audience at her sons funeral, she says:  I'm going to tell you one of your parents' great secrets.  You know all the fuss they make about your grades and making the team and getting awards?  Her eyes swept through the room as she noted the many children and teenagers filling the chapel.  This competition, this drive to measure up:  It's all a show.  Your parent's are in love with you anyway.  From the moment you were born they adored you--all you had to do was show up. {Read the entire story here.}

I think I'll still feel grief and sadness--maybe even off and on for the rest of Lamp's life.  I worry about how kids will treat her and how she'll manage to do even the most basic life skills.  I don't write these things to prove how well I'm handling things, or to vaunt my 'spirituality'... this is how I'm feeling now, what I've learned so far and to help prep me for the future.  I really do know that I'll have hard days ahead, and of course this still isn't something I'd choose for our daughter, but for the time being I'm just grateful for the peace afforded us and the prayers of others that have brought us here.  Mmmm, or maybe I just like the taste of raw meat...

 

10 comments:

  1. Thanks for this post Miggy, it really touched me- and got me pondering more too. You continue to be in our prayers.

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  2. Can I still think you're handling everything (not just Lamp, but everything) SO well and you're an amazing example of faith?

    You are so right-- each child comes with her own set of blessings and trials, but when you do what you know is right you will always find joy. I have a feeling (and I know you do, too) that Lamp is going to bring you a whole lot of joy.

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  3. I love your thoughts. Thanks for sharing. Your situation and what you said reminds me of this blog I'm addicted to called 71toes. It's an amazing family that has discovered their littlest child has a syndrome that will eventually make her blind. It shows how much humility it has taught the older siblings and what good things are actually coming from this trial. I'm still keeping you all in my prayers. Hopefully it helps to know we're rooting for you.

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. Cherrybaby--Thank you.

    Deb and Terese--thanks you guys. And Terese, thanks for the blog reference, I'm going to check it out.

    Crystal--Thanks as well...just so you know I erased your comment because I try really hard to keep Beanie's name anonymous on the blog. Sorry, I'm a little paranoid. :) But thanks and good luck with the shirt dress.

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  6. We're praying for you too! I love to read your blog, Miggy! Stay in touch! Miss ya!

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  7. Really great perspective! Thanks for giving me something to think about!

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  8. I really appreciated this post- it really resonated and I felt the Spirit as I read it. Thank you for the boost.

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  9. What a beautiful post.

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  10. Hi there. I've met you before, though you might not remember... I'm a friend of Chelsea M and Jorja... Anyhow, just wanted to tell you that I've been thinking about this post all week. I love your insight on "blessings." It's helped me a lot. There's so much we have to learn. That's why we are here on earth, right? Thank you for helping me to see the blessings in my own life :) Take care and I will pray too!

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